Visiting parents from India
We all have parents visiting from India, for different reasons, either to take care of our kids during the summer holidays, or to spend some time here with us. It is a nice break for them to come here, and spend their quality time with us. It is often a valid question as to how to keep them busy during this time, or what is the best health insurance that covers their health needs in US etc. This article discusses some of these questions.
Indian Channels on Television: Get the Dish network or the DIRECTV, to get some Indian channels of your language. Consult with your parents, if you don't know what channels do they like. This may be a different set of channels from your taste, but bear with them for your parents. This will make them out of boredom for a good daytime.
Mobility Factor: Perhaps the one thing that irks visiting parents the most is their sudden loss of mobility. Organize local transportation and get them a senior citizensí pass for the bus. Look out for day trips organized by the senior citizens center, or classes that your parents can take. Sure, they will complain about the cost and insist they are perfectly fine at home, but when your mother shows you the Chinese painting she learnt at class, itís priceless.
Take them to shopping: Take your mom to the local grocery store to get a feel. Indian grocery stores are the best places for socializing, and who knows, they may find good friend of the same age there. Ask your mom to get ingredients for that pickle you like. You will see a spark of happiness on your mom's face.
Find some peers: Watch the local Indian sites such as DesiShades.com, or the Indian news papers for public events or yoga or bhajan classes. Apart from the activity, they will get to chat with other Indian parents.
Create a hobby: Take your parents to the craft stores. By the time you get them out of there, with yarn and needles and wood projects, you will have them complaining of not enough time. Encourage them to do the things they never have time for in India. Watching movies, reading, taking long walks remind them they are on vacation.
Dress appropriately: There is nothing more frustrating than to drive two hours to see the places and then find your parents shivering and miserable. Beg, borrow or buy the right clothing from your local stores, but make sure they are adequately protected for the weather. Depending on weather conditions parents will have to be prepared with their apparel. Be warned though, sweaters will not cut it in the U.S. The wind is cold and fierce in winter. To defend yourself you need warm jackets and boots. The best option would be to either get your leather jackets from India or better still get them here or get your children to buy them for you at sale time at Christmas before you arrive. Try not to get cotton clothes if you are going to a cold place. You could get a lot of inner thermal wear though, to wear inside your clothes if you have to wear cotton.
Make some adjustments: If your mom prepares some nice breakfast for you, try to eat even if you are not used to, she will be happy. You may be watching your diet, but relax it for your mom. They have missed you, and want to do something for you, so be less rigid and let them indulge you a bit.
Arrange a party: Look for an occasion to arrange a party. Not only will your parents immerse themselves in the preparations, they will be glad to see that you have a life outside work or school.
India calls: If the parents want to talk to their friends in India, let them talk. Your parents have friends and relatives, and they don't want to miss them, even if they may not be so important for you.
Spend evening with parents: If your father talks about the Indian politics, try to listen to him. They may be boring, but try to tolerate for your dad.
Show them what you like about your life here. Take them to your favorite hiking spot, the library, even to watch Monday night football. The more they see how comfortable you are, the better they will feel. Think of things to do in the spare 8-10 hrs you will have everyday. Women could get their knitting or sewing kits, Indian magazines or books to read in their own language. Go for long walks if the weather permits. Fathers could think of photography. Parents could get books on hobbies like origami to do at home and also teach their grandchildren as a bonding exercise. Mothers could get recipe books to try out new dishes for their kids.
Spending time on internet is another great time pass for parents. Teach them how to use it, if they are not aware. It is a huge bonus for them. They will be able to communicate with people back home and it is cheaper for their children in the U.S as voice chatting through the Internet is far cheaper and parents get a longer time to talk as per their own convenience.
Parents should get all their medical check ups and treatments done before they arrive in the U.S. If they need any kind of medication, they should carry enough to last through their stay with their prescription. Carry two pairs of glasses. This will save in case one breaks, as spectacles are very expensive in USA.
For health insurance coverage in USA for the parents, there are several options. New India Assurance Company in India provides an overseas insurance policy for quite less. This covers the basic needs, but in case of any extraordinary needs, this is doubtful. There are some private insurance companies in India, which have tie-ups with the big insurance companies here. Check with your insurance agent in India to know more about them.
AmericanVisitorInsurance.com provides various plans. Visit http://www.americanvisitorinsurance.com for the information. India Network Services by Dr.KV Rao provides a group insurance policy, cheaper and effective. Visit http://health.kvrao.org for details.
Highlight: A 70-year-old NRI parent in Palo Alto who was a psychiatrist in a leading Mumbai hospital is quoted in San Jose Mercury News as saying, "In India I was in charge. Now, I donít do anything; have to ask my daughter for money to go to the barbershop. Itís awkward".
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